RISMEDIA, January 15, 2011—The U.S. Dept. of Housing and Urban Development awarded nearly $127 million in grants to 48 local projects to conduct a wide range of activities intended to protect children and families from potentially dangerous lead-based paint and other home health and safety hazards. The grant funding will clean up lead and other health hazards in more than 11,000 homes, train workers in lead safety methods, and increase public awareness about childhood lead poisoning. Lead is a known toxin that can impair children’s development and have effects lasting into adulthood. Other materials in the home can trigger allergic responses and asthma.
“Protecting the health, and indeed the futures, of our children is a top priority for HUD. We cannot allow children to be poisoned in their own homes,” said HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan. “These grants will help communities around the nation to protect families from lead exposure and other significant health and safety hazards.”
HUD Deputy Secretary Ron Sims added: “With these grant awards, HUD makes it clear that providing healthy and safe homes for families and children is a priority. It’s simple: you can’t be healthy if your home is sick. There are far too many ‘sick homes’ in our communities, and these funds will target the worst of those homes. HUD is committed to protecting children from these hazards, as part of the Department’s effort to help make the nation’s housing healthy and sustainable.”
Through these grant programs, HUD’s Office of Healthy Homes and Lead Hazard Control promotes local efforts to eliminate dangerous lead hazards from lower income homes; stimulates private sector investment in lead hazard control; and educates the public about the dangers of lead-based paint.
Healthy Homes and Lead Hazard Control Grant Programs
Even though lead-based paint was banned for residential use in 1978, HUD estimates that approximately 24 million homes still have significant lead-based paint hazards today. Lead-contaminated dust is the primary cause of lead exposure and can lead to a variety of health problems in young children, including reduced IQ, learning disabilities, developmental delays, reduced height, and impaired hearing. At higher levels, lead can damage a child’s kidneys and central nervous system and cause anemia, coma, convulsions and even death.
The funding includes more than $114 million to cities, counties and states to eliminate dangerous lead paint hazards in thousands of privately-owned, low-income housing units. These funds are provided through HUD’s Lead-Based Paint Hazard Control and Lead Hazard Reduction Demonstration grant programs. To expand the reach of HUD’s Lead Hazard Control Program, more than $13 million of this funding will support new grantees. HUD is also providing nearly $2.3 million to help communities transform their lead hazard control programs to address multiple housing-related hazards. Finally, HUD will award $10 million in Healthy Homes Production grant funds to address housing-related health hazards, such as accidental injury, mold and moisture, and carbon monoxide poisoning, through direct improvements that affect the health of children and elderly adults.
For more information, visit www.hud.gov.